Apr 13, 2009

The Best Exercise...

...Doesn't exist.

I think this is probably the most common question I get (followed by, "How do I lose fat from here [fill in the blank]?").

If I may simply clarify a thought on this issue. This is a question that is absolutely dependent on a number of factors. The most relevant of those being:
Exercise History
Exercise Proficiency/Mastery
Health History
What else you are doing/will do in your current exercise program

It is easy to come up with a "great" exercise that really targets a muscle/movement well. But, what if you can't do it? What if you don't have the technical proficiency, stability, mobility, ROM, strength, (need I go on) to perform that movement? Answer?...it's not a good exercise for you.

The second issue...spot reducing STILL doesn't work. We have understood this concept from the physiology research for many years now. Problem...TV. Infomercials. They are still confusing the issue. 8 minutes a day on that ab-shocker machine deal won't help you get ripped abs. Neither will the great new Ab Machine (whatever is being currently marketed). You can't do exercises for muscles and make that fat disappear from that region. It's a no win situation. Best ab exercise I've learned in the last 2 years (if I may borrow a term from Mike Boyle) is the "Table Pushaway" exercise. Yep...push it away, eat less calories and create caloric deficit. That's what it comes down to. Burn more than you eat and you'll get the ripped abs. What do you think all those diets and exercise programs are trying to get you to do?

That being said, an exercise for a muscle group/area will help increase muscle density and resting tone so that when you LOSE the bodyfat through caloric deficit you'll be able to see it...but not until.

In the end, the best exercise is one that will fit well into rounded, complimentary program that is appropriate for your level of fitness, exercise proficiency, goals, and health history. And I'll tell you that no matter what your goals are, more and more research on program design for general populations (athletes or bodyfat loss seekers) is showing that full or near full body programs that involve multiple joint exercises are offering the most benefit.

If you're starting your questions with "which exercise is best?" you are probably already on the wrong path. Start by asking questions related to "what type of exercise program is best?" and you'll be off to a better start.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.